Thursday, March 12, 2009

home again, home again

We arrived safe and sound back in Asheville this morning, ahead of schedule at around 10:15! The flight was uneventful, but I didn't get much sleep - though I guess that was to be expected with an overnight flight. 

I look forward to sharing my stories and pictures!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

last shower in chile!

I just got out of the last shower I will take this time in Chile ... we´ll see if I come back here again one day.

Our last day at the cabins in Puerto Varas were very nice and relaxing. We worked on our papers some, and relaxed some in the sun. It was nice to have that time to reflect on the trip and also to work on our papers. It was also a beautiful day - sunny and perfectly warm all day, with a beautiful sunset to top it all off! Then we packed up our stuff and left early Monday morning and drove to another little town to stay in cabins for the night. The temperature change between leaving Puerto Varas and getting out at Salto de Lagos was incredible. It went up at least 10 degrees F!!! It was so much hotter! Luckily there was a lovely little pool at our cabins! So we all spent a few hours swimming, resting, and celebrating Laurel´s birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Happy Birthday Laurel! Then got up early-ish again this morning and drove to Santiago!

We arrived in Santiago earlier this afternoon and went to the airport to drop off our precious van, Shasha, that we have been so close to for these past two months. We made sure she wasn´t trying to take any of our belongings and waited for our rides to the hostel. It was strange to be at the airport because we weren´t leaving today, but knowing that we´ll be leaving tomorrow. We are staying at the same hostel that we stayed at the day we got here two months ago, and it´s very nice. I like this little hostel, it´s very eclectic and fun. It´s a nice way to bring the trip to a close. Tomorrow we have time to see the city a little bit more, then time to re-pack and put all of our things together to fly home.

We leave tomorrow at 5:00 for the airport, then our flight leaves Santiago around 9:30 for Atlanta, GA! We arrive sometime after 6 am in Atlanta and then fly to Asheville, NC. Safe and uneventful travels are our hope!

Until then,


Friday, March 6, 2009

rest and relaxation to the max

We have been staying in the most beautiful little cabins ever! They´re right on the water and so cozy! We´ve been cooking our own meals, resting a lot, doing some sight seeing, working on our papers, and refecting on the trip. It´s crazy to think that it´s coming to an end ... as much as I am excited to come back it will also feel strange to leave.

Let´s see ... we went to Lago Todo los Santos yesterday and sat in the sun for a few hours. We had a fantastic view of Volcán Osorno ... don´t worry, it´s not about to explode. We went hiking/wandering at a national park a few days ago, and it was really pretty. I guess we´ve also done some serious resting, which has been nice. Oh, and our cabins are right on a lake so we went swimming today. It was a little chilly, but totally worth it. The water is so clear and beautiful. And of course, we´ve been working hard on our journal entries for our papers ... I´ve found this week to be quite productive and I think most of the rest of the group has too.

It´s hard to think about the fact that we have two more short days here at the lake cabins, then we start our drive back to Santiago, then to leave Chile. I´m not ready to make a culminating remark on this trip ... so that will just have to wait. I´m not done with this trip yet!

Can´t wait to share all my stories!


Monday, March 2, 2009

from one extreme to another

We spent this last week on a tiny island off the coast of Chiloé visiting communities and doing our homestays. It was a beautiful little island with only two hours of electricity a day, and wide open spaces like I´ve never seen before. The boat, la lancha, that we took to the island was a wooden boat with lots of people on it going to Quehui, the little island, and it felt much more traditional than the other places we´ve been on the trip. It was great. We visited two small communities on the island and did service at their churches. We participated in asados at both churches - an asado is llamb cooked over an open fire, potatoes, tomatoes and lettuce, and bread, typically with wine, that is, from what I´ve gathered on this trip, a pretty typical Chilean meal. It was a lot of meat, but it was fun. :) I think I´ll be pretty vegetarian again upon my return from this beautiful land.

The homestays we did were wonderful too. I stayed with three others from our group with one family at their house. It was great. Our host mother had her two granddaughters there, and her daughter and grandson live there. We spoke lots of Spanish and ate really good food. I learned a new way to cook eggs and rice that I´ll definitely be bringing back to the states with me. We rode their horse, walked around the island, and relaxed on the beach. It was a fantastic experience that I wish had been longer.

Then we took la lancha back to Chiloé and went back to the Maldonado farm for a night. It was a fantastic night back with a family that I will for certain go back and visit again in my life.

Now we´re in Puerto Varas on the mainland of Chile and we´ll be here for the next week before we leave Chile. We´re staying in spectacular cabins right on a lake - it´s amazing. Don´t worry, I´m taking lots of pictures.

Well, until next time ... I´ll keep you posted on our time in Puerto Varas.


Sunday, February 22, 2009


Today was the last day of the festival, and I´m glad it´s over. It was fun to go, and I enjoyed looking at the pretty things for sale and watching some of the cool traditional things, but it got a little old after a while. We made a good time out of it, even while it was raining, and got to see a lot of the process of making a wooden boat, which was super cool. And we continued to pick up trash, the amount of which did pick up when thousands upon thousands of people were there, but it still stayed remarkably trash free. I was impressed. We went to a Chilean rodeo today too ... which was pretty cool. My favorite part was the man and his horse who were working to help move the bulls. The horse was so pretty and so well trained, we were all impressed. I felt bad for the bulls, and it stressed me out a lot when people rode them, but it was worth it to see.

Tomorrow we get to pack up our things and clean the house a bit, and get ready to go to Quehui! We´ll be there for five nights, then on to Puerto Varas, our last stop for the trip before we head back to Santiago to head out!

I´ll update you upon our arrival to Puerto Varas. Wish us all luck with our homestays!!!


Friday, February 20, 2009

life at a festival

We have been working hard ... and hardly working ... at the Biodiversity Fair for the last couple of days. I think they have what has to be the cleanest fair grounds I have ever seen. Our job is to pick up trash, but there is hardly any to pick up. Let alone trash for ten of us to pick up. But it´s fun, and they laugh at us sometimes. But the lack of trash means we get to wander around and look at the merchandise. They have some interesting stuff to look at, and lots of us have bought things. They also have some animals that we have thoroughly enjoyed visiting.

We have had some very full days and they´re going by quickly. We have been getting up and cooking breakfast, then spending the day at the festival, then coming back and cooking dinner. It´s good though ... we´re having a good time, and Castro is great.

On Monday we head to Quehui for five days. We´ll be staying together as a group for the first couple of nights, then have two nights of homestays, so that should be fun. Then we´ll be back together for one more night before we head to Puerto Varas, the lake district, for ten days! The trip is flying by!

I think that´s about it for now.



Sunday, February 15, 2009

La capital de Chiloé

We are in Castro now, and for the coming week. Castro is the capital of Chiloé, the island we are staying on. Today it has been really rainy, and we went to a little festival in a nearby town - which ended up being a fun, but only for a little bit since we were all soaking wet and cold.

We have, otherwise, been wandering around town and enjoying the cafes and markets. There are TONS of markets in this town, and several large artisan markets. Lots of cool things. Many knit socks ... I feel a little weird about the idea of buying handknit socks since I make them. But I´m planning on buying wool!

We´ve been grocery shopping and cooking for ourselves as a group, which has been really nice. We are staying in a little house right in the center of the city, which is so nice since we can go out and wander around by ourselves if we want to. There are lots of internet places too. :) The house is authentic and has character, and there´s only one bathroom between the ten of us and the other guy that lives in the house. It´s a little cramped when we´re ALL trying to take showers, but otherwise it´s been fine. We´re getting used to using the bathroom together ... to say the very least.

Tomorrow afternoon we have a meeting with the municipality to see what we´re in for for this week. We´ll be doing some kind of service work for a couple of festivals that are going on. One is the Festival Costumbrista and we don´t know what the other one is. We´re hoping/planning on doing some variation of recycling ... so it should be good work.

So that´s what we´ve been up to for the last couple of days. I´ll keep you posted!